Don’t get too excited. While last year’s sensational QX50 Concept was a definitive firsthand view at the future QX50 production model, Infiniti made sure to clearly state in the opening lines of its…

Infiniti brings Q Inspiration concept to Detroit auto show

2018 Infiniti Q Inspiration Concept
The Q Inspiration concept provides a glimpse at Infiniti’s future styling. (Photo: Infiniti)

Don’t get too excited. While last year’s sensational QX50 Concept was a definitive firsthand view at the future QX50 production model, Infiniti made sure to clearly state in the opening lines of its press release that “the Q Inspiration Concept is meant to demonstrate future technologies and will not be available for sale.”

We car enthusiasts love to dream, and concepts like the Q Inspiration are purely designed for this purpose, plus providing a glimpse at tomorrow’s technologies integrated within a feasible luxury car, of course.

“The new Infiniti concept car will take the traditional sedan architecture to its next stage of evolution,” said Karim Habib, Infiniti Executive Design Director. “A shift towards smarter, more compact and less intrusive powertrains; we were able to create an alternative form with flowing gestures, more engaging in character and more enriching in experience. With its long cabin, balanced proportions and muscular stance, the concept heralds in a new era for Infiniti models.”

2018 Infiniti Q Inspiration Concept
The glass roof adds to the Q Inspiration’s airy ambience. (Photo: Infiniti)

We’ll get to that powertrain in a moment, but the Q Inspiration’s styling might be the most talked about of its many noteworthy attributes just the same. Unique above all, a body-colour grille insert is filled with fine vertical slats that mimic baleen hair, as if their sole purpose were to extract floating krill from the atmosphere, yet as unimposing as that might sound to any creature more than a couple of centimetres long its surrounding “double-arch” maw and myriad ducts appear anything but passive.

The deeply grooved hood line seems pulled from a Formula One car’s fuselage, as does the lower front fascia’s intricate latticework of aero-formed wings. Even the headlamp clusters appear sliced into the composite, while deeply carved front brake vents are duplicated on the opposite side of the wheel cutouts, this time to allow that air to escape rearward via heavily sculpted door and fender panels.

2018 Infiniti Q Inspiration Concept
There’s no shortage of swoopy ducts, the Q Inspiration one dramatic ride. (Photo: Infiniti)

“The premium sedan segment has become rather conservative,” said Christian Meunier, Infiniti Global Division Vice President. “The Infiniti Q Inspiration previews something that could appeal to a younger audience, who seek modern design and new technologies to inspire and empower them.”

Innovative lighting elements prove how LEDs can be minimized to the point they don’t overpower a car’s overall design, yet at the same time highlight specific details when daylight turns to dusk. Those up front are hardly noticeable under the sun’s rays yet encircle the entire grille cutout at night, while the headlamps get a narrow horizontal beam backed by multiple angled strips of bright light, whereas the single body-wide taillight design is used to broaden the car’s overall visual appeal from behind. Front and back emblems, plus the rear deck lid’s “INFINITI” branding light up in the dark as well, while a scripted “Q Inspiration” nameplate seems to hover on its own within a dual-plane integrated rear diffuser. If this is the future of Infiniti, we’re in for some pretty artistic rolling lightshows.

2018 Infiniti Q Inspiration Concept
The Q Inspiration uses LEDs to highlight key design elements, such as the grille surround and emblems, at night. (Photo: Infiniti)

As should be the case with all luxury cars, Infiniti’s left the best to those inside. Wedged between open-pore birch hardwood planks is a full-width digital display that houses primary driving instrumentation as well as a multi-information display and infotainment interface, whereas a second tier of digitization floats above the lower centre console, featuring touch-sensitive access to the audio system, HVAC controls, and more.

Infiniti provides a two-tone leather-wrapped rectangle of a steering wheel who’s shape suggests inspiration from F1 as well, although its controls are an exercise in touch-sensitive minimalism compared to the motorsport series’ master of hub complications. Likewise for the cabin-length cream, black and orange decorated leather-covered centre console that merely houses an infotainment controller up front and a T-shaped ultra-widescreen monitor for two in back—so much for cupholders.

2018 Infiniti Q Inspiration Concept
The Q Inspiration concept’s interior was designed to inspire, as the name suggests. (Photo: Infiniti)

These touchscreens are specified as “human-machine interfaces” in Infiniti’s press information, with each passenger getting their own display filled with the expected infotainment, plus a special “meditation-regeneration mode” that minimizes displayed info while providing a guided meditation designed to “leave any stress behind when they start a journey.” The system can also monitor occupant biometrics, or rather the measurement and statistical analysis of each individual’s unique physical and behavioural characteristics. Hopefully it only uses this highly private information to keep the driver relaxed yet alert and further unwind passengers.

According to Infiniti, the Q Inspiration’s unique design and the materials used maximize cabin space while minimizing exterior noise and absorbing the din within, the result being a calming, thoroughly comfortable environment.

2018 Infiniti Q Inspiration Concept
A digital display spans the entire instrument panel. (Photo: Infiniti)

Further diminishing noise, vibration and harshness levels, the door inserts are finished in the same padded cream leather as the centre console, also enhanced by black and orange detailing plus birch woodwork for a cohesive look that’s rich yet mid-century modern chic, as if the entire interior were penned by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich.

In actual fact it was the work of Infiniti’s in-house design department under the watchful eye of Mr. Habib, introduced earlier, as well as Alfonso Albaisa, SVP Global Design.

“As a new wave of technologies begins to take shape, our Detroit concept car heralds a new generation of Infiniti,” said Albaisa. “A seamless and stunning new design philosophy demonstrating Infiniti artistry in the new age of autonomy and breakthrough drivetrains. In Detroit, shown alongside Prototype 9, Infiniti aims to showcase a new elegance, one that strikes harmony and simplicity in a complex world.”

2018 Infiniti Q Inspiration Concept
The tufted leather pedestal seats look straight out of some futuristic airliner. (Photo: Infiniti)

It certainly lives up to Albaisa’s claim of harmony and simplicity, not to mention luxury. The seat upholstery, also finished in cream leather, appears craftily stitched into tufted golf ball dimples at centre with black piping around their edges, the seats themselves on raised pedestals and shaped like they were pulled from some futuristic airline’s first class section.

“The Q Inspiration interior is reduced to a minimalist expression of wellbeing and comfort, and strives to create a warm and uncompromisingly modern atmosphere, like one so often finds in Tokyo residential architecture,” added Habib. “The purpose being to enable users in a new era of connectivity, while simultaneously enriching the driving experience with materials of the best quality, crafted by the hands of the artist.”

2018 Infiniti Q Inspiration Concept
Weight-saving hollowed out headrests look fabulous too. (Photo: Infiniti)

Despite its resplendent luxury and shapely form, the kilowatt-infused era we live in as well as the Q Inspiration’s pure-as-the-driven-snow paint scheme and shapely albeit chrome-less styling causes a person to scan its body panels for somewhere to plug it into an EV charger, but Nissan Leaf fans hoping for a premium version of their zero-emissions ride will have to wait a bit longer. Instead, this new concept is powered by Infiniti’s formidable yet efficient new VC-Turbo engine that was first introduced at last year’s Los Angeles auto show in the all-new 2019 QX50.

VC stands for variable compression, an industry-first technology capable of varying compression from 8:1 for high performance to 14:1 for best efficiency. While VC should work in any type of turbocharged internal combustion engine size or configuration, for this application a single-scroll turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder is used, and while Infiniti chose not to disclose output numbers for the Q Inspiration, it makes a considerable 268 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 280 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm in the upcoming QX50.

2018 Infiniti Q Inspiration Concept
Each rear passenger gets their own personal infotainment display, this widescreen split in two. (Photo: Infiniti)

“As a brand with technological innovation at its core, the wider introduction of our advanced VC-Turbo powertrain is a natural next step for Infiniti,” said François Bancon, Vice President, Product and Programs. “After the recently launched QX50, the Q Inspiration proposes an alternative application for VC-Turbo technology in a potential new product.”

As you might expect, straight-line performance isn’t the only VC-Turbo attribute, with fuel-efficiency factoring into its design just as critically. Infiniti claims city/highway combined mileage of 27 mpg (8.7 L/100km) with the front-wheel drive QX50, or 26 mpg (9.0 L/100km) with the all-wheel drive variant, which is a 35- and 30-percent improvement over the outgoing V6-powered QX50 respectively.

“The beauty of the VC-Turbo powertrain is that it is a global technology,” added Bancon. “While we have plans to electrify our product portfolio in future, drivers all around the world are still reliant on internal combustion engines for their transport needs. This revolutionary engine offers a compelling blend of turbocharged performance and high efficiency. These qualities need not be unique to hybrids and diesels.”

2018 Infiniti Q Inspiration Concept
Not your average rear door hinge, but the Q Inspiration concept is not your average luxury sedan. (Photo: Infiniti)

Yes, Infiniti promises the immediate torque and responsiveness of a hybrid or turbodiesel powertrain, while its all-wheel drivetrain means it should get off the line with minimal slippage no matter the weather or road conditions. The powertrain is compact for such a sizeable sedan too, which helped Infiniti make the most of available passenger space so occupants can stretch out and relax.

This is where a fully autonomous drive system would be ideal, and to that end the Q Inspiration includes the next best thing, Nissan/Infiniti’s semi-autonomous ProPilot system.

“The Infiniti Q Inspiration reveals the next stage of development for the brand’s ProPilot autonomous drive technologies,” added Bancon. “The new, near-future technologies previewed here seek to both empower and liberate drivers.”

ProPilot responds to the road ahead and surrounding vehicles via camera and radar technology, plus it can drive you to your destination effortlessly via the navigation system’s route guidance.

2018 Infiniti Q Inspiration Concept
Look to the future for Q Inspiration inspired Infiniti product. (Photo: Infiniti)

“ProPilot empowers drivers with end-to-end autonomous driving, providing autonomous multi-lane highway driving and intersection auto-navigation functionalities,” says Infiniti. “These near-future technologies work alongside existing ProPilot Assist technologies, such as the capability to navigate stop-start highway traffic and monitor the positions of surrounding vehicles.”

As noted earlier, don’t expect to see the Q Inspiration piloting itself around your neighbourhood anytime soon. It’s a concept that’s been designed to inspire future styling directions, interior materials usage, and leading-edge technologies. To that effect it does a commendable job, although we’ll have to wait a few years to see how impactful it becomes to future generations of Infiniti vehicles.

For now, check out these videos of the Infiniti Q Inspiration concept:

“The next step in Infiniti design” (0:40 minutes)::

“Power beyond convention” (0:44 minutes):

Quick tech video (1:23 minutes):

Detailed overview (6:16 minutes):

Canadians choosing to fully equip their 2018 Nissan Rogue SUVs will soon receive the benefit of new semi-autonomous “hands-on-wheel” ProPilot Assist technology, a new system that could make your rush…

Nissan adds new ProPilot Assist tech to 2018 Rogue

2018 Nissan Rogue with ProPilot Assist
The 2018 Rogue comes with ProPilot Assist in top-line SL models with the Platinum Package, providing semi-autonomous driving at a very affordable price point. (Photo: Nissan)

Canadians choosing to fully equip their 2018 Nissan Rogue SUVs will soon receive the benefit of new semi-autonomous “hands-on-wheel” ProPilot Assist technology, a new system that could make your rush hour commute to and from work a lot easier.

“Nissan continues to democratize technology, bringing our most advanced systems to our highest volume models, rather than reserving them for our most expensive vehicles,” said Bert Brooks, senior manager, product planning, Nissan Canada Inc. “Customers are delighted when they realize they can afford technology usually reserved for high-end, expensive luxury vehicles. Bringing unexpected value is core to the Nissan brand and our Nissan Intelligent Mobility mission.”

2018 Nissan Rogue with ProPilot Assist
Nice colourful multi-info display graphics show surrounding traffic. (Photo: Nissan)

Wouldn’t it be nice if your car “took over the wheel” while in bumper-to-bumper traffic? That’s part of an autonomous vehicle’s appeal, and while such a utopian experience may be years or possibly decades away from being adopted en masse, some manufacturers are slowly inching us toward the dream.

Nissan introduced its ProPilot Assist technology in the 2018 Leaf, and now they’ve announced it will also be available in the 2018 Nissan Rogue SL with the Platinum Package, a compact SUV priced at $36,998 so equipped.

2018 Nissan Rogue with ProPilot Assist
Press the blue ProPilot Assist button on the right steering wheel spoke and then treat it much like you would adaptive cruise control. (Photo: Nissan)

Choosing the Rogue as one of its first semi-autonomous vehicles makes a great deal of sense, being that it’s the best-selling Nissan in North America. Here in Canada the Rogue’s year-to-date sales of 33,180 units over the first nine months of 2017 have resulted in a gain of 11.6 percent compared to the first three quarters of 2016, and last year the Rogue sold in record numbers too.

So how does it work? ProPilot Assist controls acceleration, braking and steering during single-lane highway driving, but keep in mind you’ll need to remain totally alert and involved in the process, with your hands on the wheel (at least most of the time).

2018 Nissan Rogue with ProPilot Assist
The Rogue is Nissan’s most popular model. (Photo: Nissan)

Nissan has driven more than 320,000 kilometres of North American roads using ProPilot Assist, the automaker stating that the semi-autonomous system was specifically designed to respond to North American road markings and driving situations. Nissan also promises it will be “more intuitive and user-friendly compared to other driver-assist technologies,” and furthermore can “potentially help lessen driver fatigue and create a more confident driving experience – especially for drivers who experience heavy highway traffic on a daily basis.”

For those wanting even more autonomy from their future cars, take heart that Nissan will be evolving ProPilot Assist to include “increasing levels of autonomy” in future updates, with the ability to also “navigate city intersections.”

2018 Nissan Rogue with ProPilot Assist
We’ll let you know if semi-autonomous driving works on the beach in an upcoming road test. (Photo: Nissan)

Additionally, Nissan plans to make ProPilot Assist available in 10 more Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance models by 2020, and North America, as well as the European, Japanese and Chinese markets, will be in on the action.

Of note, ProPilot Assist is part of a larger technology suite dubbed Nissan Intelligent Mobility, which the automaker describes as a “blueprint for transforming how cars are driven, powered and integrated into society.”

“The world is facing serious challenges such as climate change, traffic congestion, road fatalities and increasing air pollution,” added Brooks. “Through Nissan Intelligent Mobility, we are committed to addressing these challenges by making transportation safer, smarter, and more enjoyable. The new ProPilot Assist technology is a perfect example of how we can make drivers feel more confident and more connected to their vehicles.”

ProPilot Assist will be available in the 2018 Rogue SL Platinum and the 2018 Leaf early next year.

Before then, check out this short explanatory video that accompanied the initial ProPilot Assist announcement as part of the 2018 Leaf:


With a shiny new 2017 Honda Pilot in the driveway, I can’t help but glance over at my recently updated sales chart spreadsheet to see how this relatively new model is stacking up against its closest…

2017 Honda Pilot Touring

2017 Honda Pilot Touring
Like what you see? It’s an Acura MDX with Honda styling, and therefore great value. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

With a shiny new 2017 Honda Pilot in the driveway, I can’t help but glance over at my recently updated sales chart spreadsheet to see how this relatively new model is stacking up against its closest competitors. I keep track of such things as it helps to build the narrative, especially if a particular model isn’t quite measuring up to its associated brand power.

Honda has mega brand power in this country, having long held bestselling status in the car sector (not the pickup truck sector—that was a joke, as its Ridgeline owns “most exclusive” status here and everywhere else it’s sold) with the Civic; currently (as of Q2 2017) in first place in the mid-size car segment with its Accord (yes, ahead of the Camry); also number one in the subcompact SUV segment with the HR-V; constantly contending for top three spot amongst compact SUVs with its CR-V, second as of December 31, 2016 with the Fit in the subcompact car category (albeit it’s plummeted to fifth in just six months), and 11th (as of Q2 2017) for the subject of this review; but that’s better than 12th, where it finished up 2016.

2017 Honda Pilot Touring
Top-tier Touring trim adds LED headlamps, 20-inch alloys, and other niceties. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

To be fair, if you pare the segment down to car-based crossover SUVs from its 21 overall contestants it registers 10th, although the segment shrinks to 18. We can get rid of a couple of tall wagons that don’t really compete directly, mind you, which yanks the Pilot up a notch to ninth yet removes another from the total tally resulting in 17 direct rivals, and if we’re going to get so granular in our competitive analysis we really should clump models with five and seven passenger variants together (like the Santa Fe Sport and XL), which places the Pilot in 8th and overall list down to 16. Still, it’s hardly reasonable to include the new VW Atlas on the big list, as it’s only been available for two months, while the same brand’s Touareg is a $50k luxury SUV that competes in an entirely different class. This makes the Pilot eighth most popular out of 14 direct competitors (and no we can’t divide things up into five- and seven-seat challengers because Honda doesn’t offer a five-seat variant.

2017 Honda Pilot Touring
You can only get a black interior if you don’t want a black exterior… seriously. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

That’s an issue it will need to address, as class dominating Hyundai found nearly three times as many buyers for its five-seat Santa Fe Sport over the first half of 2017, while Ford’s five-seat Edge wasn’t far off the mark. And if you think things even out much more when comparing seven-seat SUVs, consider that Ford’s Explorer sold more than twice as many units, while Toyota’s Highlander, Dodge’s Journey, and Kia’s Sorento came close to doubling Pilot sales. Grinding salt into the wound, this is ramping up to be a particularly good year for the big Honda’s big SUV, with 4,079 units already down the road compared to 7,279 last year. Then again, Honda sold 8,230 in 2015 when the new model was introduced (in May), which while a massive bump over the 6,113 units sold in 2014 while the old model was winding down, and much stronger than the scant 4,328 sold during the model’s emotional low of 2007, is a big hill to scale in comparison to rivals. In other words, the Pilot significantly underperforms on the sales charts for such a mega brand.

It’s not like it’s suffering from new kid syndrome either. The Pilot has been around for a long time, 15 years to be exact, but the rather bland looking first-generation wasn’t exactly a homerun, and Honda’s second kick at the can, a boxy, upright, traditionally styled SUV was only moderately more successful.

2017 Honda Pilot Touring
All black interior is joined by loads of piano black lacquer trim, the only colour being some superb digital interfaces. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Having previously tested a 2016 version in top-tier Touring trim, this is the second modern-day third-generation Pilot to be parked in my garage. Odd that Honda provided a Touring trimmed model once again, and stranger still that it coated both in the same grey-blue Steel Sapphire Metallic hue, especially when so many other colours are on the available palette, such as darker and bolder Obsidian Blue Pearl, dark green Black Forest Pearl, Dark Cherry Pearl, and all the usual shades from White Diamond Pearl, Lunar Silver Metallic, and medium grey Modern Steel Metallic, to Crystal Black Pearl.

Opting for the latter would have allowed perforated Beige leather upholstery instead of the same old Black hides, but it’s even more interesting to note you can’t get the lighter beige cabin with some of the complementary colours just noted (dark green and beige is a no-brainer). It must be difficult to select colour combinations knowing ahead they won’t appeal to everyone, but one reason top sellers perform well is the variety they bring to the market. Limiting the beige interior to those wanting a black exterior seems self-defeating.

2017 Honda Pilot Touring
The primary instruments are unique and filled with a large colour TFT multi-info display. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Interestingly, Honda’s U.S. division forces those who purchase black Pilots into black or grey interiors, with beige totally off the menu, while those opting for the green or cherry red exteriors are mandated into beige. Either blue exterior paint removes black and beige from the equation entirely, leaving just grey, but at least more options are on the table. Such is life with a ten-times larger market, but then again a little more colour variety wouldn’t hurt the Pilot’s potential sales.

I won’t use the word austere, but even when Honda tries to bling up the top-line Pilot Touring’s cabin it uses yet more of the inkiest shade in the form of piano black lacquered plastic. There’s no warm wood tones, sophisticated satin-finished metals, or any as avant garde as the Nissan Murano’s radical mother of pearl inlays, and while I’m not decrying Honda goes that far to wow would-be buyers, something a bit more daring might be in order. That piano black lacquered plastic is impossible to keep free of dust, scratches easily, and looks passé in anything but a Rolls-Royce Ghost is another valid issue against this overused embellishment, the other being way too much of a “good” thing in its application here.

2017 Honda Pilot Touring
EX-L and Touring trims feature navigation along with voice recognition. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Where more is better is in seating, the Pilot standard with eight seatbelts, albeit the second-row captain’s chairs in our tester resulted in the usual count of seven seats from its three rows. I’ll let you in on the third row’s ability to haul more than just kids in my upcoming road test review, at which point all also be critiquing other considerations like roominess and comfort in the other seating positions, overall refinement, how well the configurable TFT instrument cluster and top-line infotainment touchscreen do their respective jobs, how much the full-load model’s optional nine-speed automatic improves the standard 280 horsepower 3.5-litre V6 engine’s performance and whether or not I’ve learned to appreciate its whacky electronic gear selector.

I can say the upgraded transmission is a win at the pump, with its claimed five-cycle fuel economy rating dropping to 12.4 L/100km in the city compared to 13.0 with the standard six-speed autobox; they both consume an estimated 9.3 L/100km on the highway.

You may also want to know that Honda now believes less is more when it comes to available Pilot trims, the Canadian version having lost its base front-wheel drive LX model, which also means the 2017 Pilot’s base price has climbed to $40,090 plus freight and fees instead of $35,490 last year. That new price is also $1,600 more than last year’s LX AWD, so Honda isn’t trying to spur more sales by slashing the Pilot’s MSRP.

2017 Honda Pilot Touring
These perforated leather front seats feature forced ventilation in Touring trim. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

It does come well equipped in standard guise, however, with Honda’s Intelligent Variable Torque Management (i-VTM4) AWD that includes dynamic torque vectoring and Intelligent Traction Management with Normal, Snow, Mud and Sand modes, Agile Handling Assist that adds brake pressure to the inside wheels during high-speed cornering to limit understeer and therefore improve control, Active Eco Assist that reduces engine and HVAC performance while minimizing output when using cruise control (aiding fuel economy while reducing emissions), and more under the skin.

Additional standard safety kit includes the usual four-wheel discs with ABS, electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, traction and stability control, hill-start assist, trailer stability assist, tire pressure monitoring, and HondaLink Assist Automatic Emergency Response telematics, while items that were previously optional but are now standard include forward collision warning, collision mitigating autonomous braking, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, road departure mitigation, and Honda’s exclusive LaneWatch blind spot display system that uses a rearward facing camera on the passenger-side mirror to project live video of the blindspot when activating the right turn signal. This is enough for an IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus rating, while the NHTSA gave it a best possible five stars for safety. My Touring trimmed tester includes blindspot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, but loses the LaneWatch system in the process, while the usual combination of airbags help to make the Pilot one of the safest SUVs on the road.

2017 Honda Pilot Touring
The Touring features a dual-pane panoramic glass sunroof is split by a rear entertainment system. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Incidentally, dynamic cruise control is also standard fare, impressive, as are 18-inch alloys, daytime running lights, LED taillights, remote start, proximity-sensing keyless access with pushbutton ignition, auto on/off headlamps, a windshield wiper de-icer, heatable power-actuated side mirrors, a colour TFT multi-information display, tri-zone auto climate control with second-row controls, 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a multi-angle backup camera with dynamic guidelines, three USB ports, an aux input, wireless smartphone connectivity with audio streaming, Wi-Fi, Siri Eyes Free, SMS text message and email functionality, 225-watt AM/FM/CD audio with seven speakers including a sub and speed-sensitive volume control, active noise cancellation, a compass, a sunglasses holder that doubles as a conversation mirror, heatable front seats, and much more.

Upgrade to the second-run EX and you’ll get upgraded LED daytime running lights, fog lights, turn signals integrated into the side mirror housings, roof rails, a 10-way powered driver’s seat, a universal garage door opener, a powered moonroof, the aforementioned LaneWatch blindspot monitoring camera system, etcetera.

2017 Honda Pilot Touring
How’s that for second-row seating? The captain’s chairs are standard in Touring trim. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

You can build on EX trim by upgrading to EX-L, which either comes with the name “Navi” or “RES” attached. Both feature an acoustic windshield, a heatable leather-wrapped steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, front and rear parking sensors, satellite radio, a powered front passenger seat, leather upholstery, heated second-row outboard seats, one-touch folding second-row seats, a powered tailgate, and more, with the former incorporating navigation with detailed mapping into the infotainment display, and the latter anteing up with a rear entertainment system (hence RES) boasting a 9.0-inch ceiling-mounted display, two wireless headphones, a HDMI input, a 115-volt household-style power outlet, and second-row sunshades.

As you may have guessed, if you want navigation and rear seat entertainment you’ll need to move up to Touring, which as you can see from the photos incorporates a nice bright colourful map and full route guidance within the centre stack display as well as a flip-down TV monitor overhead, this latter item capable of Blu-Ray movies and neatly placed between a double-pane panoramic glass sunroof.

2017 Honda Pilot Touring
How’s that for cargo space? Of course, the rest of the third row and second row fold flat too. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Additional Touring features including 20-inch alloys, full LED headlamps with auto-leveling and auto high beams, chromed exterior door handles, acoustic front door glass, ambient interior lighting, rain-sensing wipers, upgraded 540-watt audio with 10 speakers including a sub plus 5.1 surround, HD radio and two more USB ports, driver’s memory that includes the side mirrors which are also power-folding and incorporate reverse tilt-down, upgraded perforated leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, second-row captain’s chairs, blindspot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and more.

And I haven’t even mentioned a thing about what it’s like to drive. Come back soon for a complete road test review where I’ll cover that all-important issue as well as everything else experiential…